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5 Tips for Smarter Car Insurance Savings

Updated: Feb 26

Saving every cent counts, especially when the cost of living is so high.

South Africans are trying everything to ensure they get the best deals and discounts, and annual reviews of their budgets are becoming more of a priority than ever before. You may scrutinize your expenses and decide which policies and plans you really need and which are more of a “nice to have.” Once you have decided what policies to keep, you should review them separately each year too, making sure you are adequately covered and paying the correct premiums.

Unfortunately, in trying to save as much as possible on lower premiums, some people incorrectly adjust their policies and aren’t appropriately covered, something of which they may only realize when they submit a claim.

This week, we share how to save on car insurance the smart way, ensuring you still have the right cover.

White side photo of car

MINDFUL ADJUSTMENTS ON YOUR INSURANCE A weak economy has severe consequences for household budgets, and as a result, South Africans are investigating ways to reduce or eliminate the cost of car insurance. Totally dispensing your short-term insurance is a dangerous financial tactic, one that will end up costing you more than saving money, so don't give up your policy altogether. Reducing costs does not have to mean cancelling policies; it's not an all-or-nothing scenario, but you need to be mindful of saving money the smart way.

While there are several alternatives to cancelling your policy, be mindful of the consequences of each option. Below are some of the options and the risks each one carries:

  1. Downgrade your comprehensive cover to a comprehensive product that offers discounted premiums for low mileage drivers. There may be no apparent risks when choosing this option unless you are not a low-mileage driver, or you do a lot of kilometers unexpectedly, in which case your premium will increase to accommodate the higher mileage.

  2. Increase your excess. This will bring your monthly premium down; however, it places an additional financial burden on you when you claim. A lower premium may seem like an easy option now, but if you need to claim, your excess may be unaffordable. Remember, many panel beaters and mechanics won't start repairing your vehicle until the excess is paid in full.

  3. Downgrade your cover from "Retail Value" to "Market Value": This option will also reduce your monthly premium, but you assume personal liability at the claim stage for the difference between the sum insured between these two values.

  4. Downgrade from fully comprehensive insurance to a product that only covers "total loss" and third-party claims. This would apply, for example, if your car was stolen and not recovered or was written-off after an accident, fire, or drowning. The most significant risk with this option is that your insurance won't cover any accident damage repairs, which may leave you in a hotspot after an accident if you do not have the funds available to cover your car's repairs.

  5. Downgrade to a third-party, fire, and theft-type product. This is also a cheaper option compared to comprehensive cover. Still, it only covers the cost to the other person's vehicle involved in the accident, unless your car is stolen and not recovered or it becomes damaged beyond repair in a fire.

Car accident


With each of the above carrying significant risks, instead, turn to more innovative saving methods on your vehicle insurance. Below are some helpful tips:

Take Advantage of Multi-Car Discounts: Ask your insurance agent if you qualify for a discount if you insure more than one vehicle with them. Insurance companies appreciate the opportunity to cover more than one vehicle, so they may be open to offering you a discounted premium. Some companies may provide discounted vehicle insurance if you maintain other policies with them, such as business or household cover. Ask for 'multiple car discount' and factor in up to 20% off!

Take responsibility and drive safe: The best way to save on your car insurance is to be a responsible and safe driver. Not only will this prevent claims and excess payments in the future for those claims, but some insurers reward you for safe driving and offer bonus incentives after a specified period of no claims.

Park your vehicles undercover and out of sight: Insurers want to know your car is well looked after, and in turn, they will reward you with a better premium. If your vehicle is parked in a locked garage overnight, you will receive a better premium than if it was parked outside on the road. A car parked undercover is protected from storms and other weather conditions. If your vehicle is out of sight and locked away, then the risk of theft is reduced.

Work from home discounts: If you work from home and are not on the road often, inform your insurer; they may offer you a better premium. If your car is not on the road often, its risk of being involved in an accident decreases.

Take an Advanced Driving Course: Sometimes, insurance companies will discount those who complete an approved advanced driving course. Ask your insurer about this discount before you sign up for a course. After all, it's important that the effort being expended and the cost of the course translates into a big enough insurance savings.

Install an anti-theft or tracking device: Insurers want to know that you have gone to some lengths to protect your car against theft and will often offer a discount on your premium if you have a tracking device installed or a smash and grab film on your windows. Some insurers may insist you have a tracking device fitted, so ensure this is done to avoid claim repudiation.

Car window smash

Drive a smaller or cheaper car: If you are struggling to afford your insurance premiums, it may be a better option to trade your vehicle in for a more affordable vehicle that carries a lower retail price and fewer bells and whistles of larger, newer vehicles. For instance, a reasonably new Toyota Land Cruiser will have a higher premium than a Toyota Camry or Yaris.

Find a Top-Rated Insurer: Saving money isn't simply a matter of finding the lowest premium. It would be best if you found an insurer that'll have your back when the melon hits the fan. And when your fan-belt breaks.


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